Boyoboy - maybe it's more me than the MXL Genesis. I have had such a love/disappointment/epiphany/"write-it-off"/"shower-in-it's-bliss" reaction to it over the last two years that it may be like a complicated romance - you just gotta keep sticking around to see what happens next.
As you probably know, the mic is big and shiny red. It has a power supply, but having only one capsule it doesn't give you pattern options, so cardioid it is. Alot of people say it's overpriced at $500, BUT when it's the right choice it really lets you know. Hi pass switch and a -10dB switch. Shiny!
The 12AT7 Mullard tube that comes with the mic sounded fine and I got one of my favorite vocals I've ever done with this mic and a Summit 2ba-221 (with all it's tube dialed in.) That said, maybe my tube went a little dull after a while and all that yummy noise and crackling that an old tube can give you kicked in. Put an ad in the paper to sell it, then decided to try an old Sylvania 12AU7 tube in its place. ZOING !!! Clarity, extended high end, 3-D sound...I'm in love!
Then the mic seemed spitty for a while and too noisy compared to the fets I usually use. Put an ad in the paper to sell it. Decided to try it in a GAP 73. ZOING !!! Spit gone! Lots of character - the dulled top-end of the GAP is a PERFECT match for this mic, give it a very professional, smooth reaction to 4-7Khz consonants, plus the GAP naturally rolls off some of the lowend if you haven't hit the Genesis's hi pass switch (very useful on this thing for vocals - it has lots of low end) And they're both red! How did I not see that before?!? I'M IN LOVE! Bring me a red mic cable!!!
Then time passes and geez, shouldn't I get a new fangled tube mic from some ebay guy?!? All the kids on GS are talking about it! gotta sell the Genesis first, so put an ad in the paper. Dammit - here come bills. Okay, let me try recording with the Genesis REAL close up, basically eating the mic - maybe I'll get something new out of it. ZOING !!! EVERYTHING I wanted in this mic - even tho it's counter-intuitive to sing 2 inches from the mic and wailing into it, all this tubey richness came frothing through! The frustrating toppy hi-end is gone, it even handles sibilance better at this distance! I'M IN LOVE!
So that's where I'm at now - haven't purchased the fancy ebay mic and am loving what the Genesis is doing to my vocals. Sure, it doesn't have some of the bells and whistles of other tube mics (heck, it doesn't even have a hard shell case! Just the wooden box the mic comes in and a cardboard box for the rest! I'll make me a red shoebox.
For lower male vocals (think Bowie, Gabriel, Elvis - that range) push the mic's tube hard and get a lovely selection of overtones - helps the mic cut through a busy mix. Don't be afraid to try different tubes in this - the 12xx7 series works swell (real convenient, since lots of other mics have odder-sized tubes). And oddly enough, the noise is gone. Maybe the noise is in my head?!?